School needs projector for classroom

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Doctor Q, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #1
    A teacher I help at school found some funding to buy a projector. It is to be mounted on a bracket near the ceiling of a computer lab and used to project onto a screen (or a blank wall) whatever is on the display of the teacher's Power Mac G4, so she can give demonstrations.

    I don't know the budget yet, but they have asked me for advice, so I'm asking all of you.

    What type of projector is needed? What features are required? How does it connect to the Power Mac? How far can the projector be from the Power Mac? It's a tower; does it matter exactly what Power Mac model it is? What are the main brands of projectors? What web sites can I go to to learn more?

    Your help would be appreciated, since I know nothing about projectors but want to steer them in the right direction.
     
  2. SurfinSHELL23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2004
    Location:
    Aberdeen, NJ
    #2
    The projector can either hook up by running the monitor signal from the computer, into the projector, then back out into the monitor, or if there's a secondary video port not being used, the projector could get signal from there, while the monitor gets signal from the primary video port. The first scenario will have a mirror image of the monitor, while the other will allow for use as a secondary display (or use of Presenter Tools in PowerPoint)
     
  3. VanMac macrumors 6502a

    VanMac

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Rampaging Tokyo
    #3
    Hey.

    Most of the projectors will have multiple inputs. VGA, SVideo, composite, etc, etc. No problem hooking it up to a PowerMac.

    As far as brand name, I kinda like the Canon lineup, but again, most of the bigger players will be fine for what you need.(Sony, Epson, Dell)

    If the room it will be in is bright (lots of windows), make sure you get one with a decent lumens rating. Also verify the resolution you want to display is supported (VGA, XGA, UXGA, etc). You dont need anything that does high def, so dont waste your money.

    Happy Shopping.
     
  4. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #4
    The distance can be quite substantial, I believe, as we run many that are 20-30 ft. from the podiums in presentation rooms. I don't think there is any special equipment required to enable this.

    Sharp and Epson have been good, in my experience, but there are a number of them. My guess is that you'll want something that is pretty bright, since you won't want to keep shutting the lights off in the classroom. Hate to have the kids falling asleep in computer lab. ;)

    In terms of other features, probably an easy way to black ("mute") the screen via remote would be nice, so that she can easily shut off the display without always powering down the projector.

    Many projectors now will have a tie-in to the USB port so that you can use the projector's remote to control the mouse on the Mac, which is a useful feature if she wants to go around the room and still control the system. Another option would be to get a remote control mouse for the PowerMac, so that there would be one less wire running back to the Mac.

    Edit: I did a quick check at Costco and they have a 3000 lumens (quite bright) projector that includes an 80"x60" screen, multiple resolution settings, monitor loop-through, and remote with mouse control for $1,900. I'm not familiar with the brand (it's an Optoma EP758), but the price point is fantastic for what it seems to include.

    Edit 2: Looks like lamps retail for $300-$400, but I don't know what the "street" price would be.
     
  5. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #5
    I would take a look at a high-end InFocus. Also, she might want to consider a projector that supports 16x9 natively (for movies or videos) and has a DVI connection.

    DLP projectors provide more accurate color tones compared with LCD. However, I'm not a huge supporter of DLP because of the rainbow effect. On newer DLP projectors, the color wheel spins at much higher rate, which supposedly eliminates the effect.
     
  6. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #6
    She needs to also factor in the cost of replacement bulbs. A $899 projector is not going to do much good, if the bulb replacement cost is $499. ;)
     
  7. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #7
    The AVS forum is a good source of reviews and information.

    http://www.avsforum.com/

    I disagree with the above poster, if she plans on keeping the projector for five or six years a projector supporting HDTV may be a better choice.

    I guess it all depends on what she will be doing with the projector. If it's just for PowerPoint slides then a standard SVGA projector may be the best choice. However, if she plans on using it to teach multimedia or publication classes a higher resolution projector will provide a better experience.
     
  8. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #8
    Thanks for the advice. Keep it coming!

    Her focus is on graphics and web applications. She teaches and demonstrates Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Flash. They look at results with Safari, and they even use a little bit of iMovie.

    By way of context... She's been struggling to use Apple Remote Desktop to put her Power Mac's display on all the students' screens, but ARD has been flaky for two years (the connections cut off after a minute or two). Apple has even had engineers out to work on it. They told us that the only way they could help us would be to upgrade from Jaguar to Tiger and reinstall the server and its network configuration completely from scratch, which would cost more than this projector, so this is an end-run around the problem.

    The room is bright, since it is a long room with windows along the side. The shades are usually closed, but lots of light leaks through. So the comments above about lumens are good advice.

    Checking bulb prices is VERY good advice, especially because school funds for technology tend to show up once and then never again. Computers aren't a vocal lobbying group, so technology funding gets cut or restored on a whim here in the Los Angeles Unified School District. She should probably get a spare bulb or two up front because they can be expensive and there might not be money for that in the budget when she needs them.
     
  9. ITASOR macrumors 601

    ITASOR

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    Location:
    Oneida, NY
    #9
    Get the project that comes in from two sides of a white board. This way, they can stand in front of it and not get a huge shadow. Just a thought...

    SmartBoards are also extremely cool. Not sure about Mac compatibility though.
     
  10. DeSnousa macrumors 68000

    DeSnousa

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #10
    At are school they just have a basic Sony data projector, such as this:

    http://smb.us.sony.biz/is-bin/INTER...traPortableProjectors&RequestChannel=Business

    The image is displayed on the white board that was already present in the room. The white board does a great job displaying the image.

    Edit: Here is an image, but it of an ordinary room not the computer room, but you get the idea. The projector was mounted up on the ceiling about 8m from the computer. The wiring is installed through the walls and is connected through a VGA adaptor.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. MR MAC macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2005
    #11
    I would seriously take a look at Hitachi projectors. I've been using them for years with great success!!

    Hitachi LCD Projectors

    Mac
     
  12. huck500 macrumors 6502

    huck500

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
    Location:
    Southern California
    #12
    Projectors

    In my classroom I have an NEC projector with my Smartboard...it's fine with all the lights on, about 12 or so feet from the board. $700-$800 on sale, bulbs are about $300. The shadow thrown on the screen is inconvenient, but not that big a deal. There's absolutely no reason to get a fancy, feature-packed unit for a classroom that I can think of.

    Smartboards are Mac compatible.

    Smartboards
     
  13. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #13
    I looked up the teacher's Mac. It's the Power Macintosh G4 "Quicksilver" 2002.

    From those specs:
    NVIDIA GeForce4 MX graphics card with 64MB of DDR SDRAM and ADC and VGA connectors; supports digital and analog resolutions up to 1920 by 1200 pixels

    Dual display support for connecting two displays from a single graphics card

    Dual display support for extended desktop and video mirroring modes1

    Four open full-length 64-bit,33-MHz PCI slots

    One AGP 4X slot with graphics card installed

    Two 400-Mbps FireWire ports (15W total power)

    Four USB ports (two on system, two on keyboard)

    10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet connector (RJ-45)​
    She uses a CRT monitor.
     
  14. DeSnousa macrumors 68000

    DeSnousa

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    #14
    Most projectors will have a VGA port (that's how the monitor would be connected by) and the basic projectors you are looking at, will not exceed 1920 by 1200 pixels.
     
  15. mjstew33 macrumors 601

    mjstew33

    Joined:
    May 29, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    #15
    I recommend InFocus projectors. My family has one. My school has about 10 of them. They are really nice.
     
  16. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #16
    Thanks.

    As a matter of fact, InFocus projectors are the only ones I have dealt with. What I didn't know was how they compare to other brands and which features would be most important.

    We're getting "advice" from a projector vendor this week and I'll meet with the teacher and principal early next week to share what I've learned.
     
  17. iMeowbot macrumors G3

    iMeowbot

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2003
    #17
    Another vote for Proxima (they're part of InFocus). One other neat toy they offer is a WiFi projector dongle, and they even support OS X. On the downside, the wireless option limits you to 1024x768.
     
  18. Roose macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #18
    plus corporation are the best for projectors, they are a company based in japan i think. There projectors are about 2 years technology ahead of other companys. People like dell epson etc badge plus's projectors!! :cool:
     
  19. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    キャンプスワ&#
    #19
    For presentations, I highly recommend a LCD over a DLP projector.

    I would suggest a 1024x768 (XGA) resolution as a minimum. A 800x600 (SVGA) will work, but leaves you little space for modern apps. Higher resolutions, while nice, are probably not worth the money.

    What I've found that helps the quality of the presentation if using PowerPoint type application, is to create the presentation in the same resolution as the projector. In other words, the computer and projector would be set to the same resolution. When you are designing your PP presentation, you would then use this resolution. They will look so much better this way.

    One bad thing about projectors is the bulb replacement. Most bulbs are expensive and need replacing often if used a lot. So be sure to calculate bulb replacement costs as well. I would also recommend that you purchase a replacement bulb up front so that you have it on hand when the original one goes.

    Another consideration is the noise level. Some projectors can get really noisy to the point that you have to talk over the sound of the cooling fan. If you mount up high, they seem much louder.

    As for speaker output forget about sound provided by internal built-in speakers. For a few bucks you can purchase a cheap set of external speakers that are a 100 times better than any built-in speakers.

    You will also want to consider heat/fan output. Some projectors get very warm and push a large amount of hot air during operation. An older projector that we had actually melted the venier desktop. The key is to make sure that you have good airflow based on your installation.

    Thinking outside of the box, another possibility to consider, might be a rear projector TV/Monitor. Some are pretty cheap, and can be used as a decent presentation system.

    Sushi
     
  20. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #20
    Why is that? The sound bounces off the ceiling? The classroom ceiling has acoustic tiles and it's a large room, about 40' long, so at least the noise won't be in a confined area.

    They are discussing whether to mount the projector on the ceiling midway in the room, or mount it on one end, near the teacher's computer, and project onto the opposite wall across the length of the room. The salesman recommended the latter, but I'm wary. Wouldn't projecting twice as far require more power and light, with little advantage?
     
  21. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    キャンプスワ&#
    #21
    Not sure exactly.

    I was presenting in a classroom that I would estimate was about 30 feet by 25 feet. It has acoustic tiles on the ceiling. The projector was located in the middle with a ceiling drop. The noise difference between having the projector on vice off was incredible. Same held true the old noisy switch that we were using.

    One thing that I found out, is that you don't realize the sound level difference until you turn the device off. A good point is that newer projectors are getting quieter.

    I prefer ceiling mounts because they are up high out of the way. The bad part is putting the cabling in.

    Plus with a ceiling mount when folks stand up they don't block the screen near as much.

    As for throw distance, you will have to check the specs. It does take more power (more illums) to throw an image farther. So if mounted in the middle the projector may be able to use a low power setting whereas if it is located in the rear it may need to be set on high power.

    Also, the longer you use the projector, generally the hotter they become and therefore need more cooling which results in an increase in fan noise.

    Another option is using a projector as a rear projection device. By putting it behind the screen, you solve the noise problems. It is usually an easy switch via the projector's control panel.

    I hope this makes sense.

    Sushi

    Edit: Just saw your PM. Will look at it tomorrow. Got to hit the hay.
     
  22. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    キャンプスワ&#
    #22
    InFocus has some good products for sure.

    Used many over the years beginning with their first models. Big noisy brutes. But solid performers.

    Sushi
     

Share This Page